Shoot exotic sports cars…without the cars
There are not many photographers today that have been blessed with opportunities to shoot exotic cars in beautiful and exotic locations. If you are photography beginner or an enthusiast with an average day job, let’s face it, your chances of shooting exotic cars are pretty slim. Best chance for such a photo is if one of your friends owns one, or if you stumble upon such a vehicle somewhere in the city, and when you do, you will only have a limited window for shooting such a photo.
However, if you own a Playstation 3 and a copy of Gran Turismo 5 game, you just might have all of the tools necessary to significantly boost your car photography skills. Although it does sound a bit absurd, i recommend that you give it a go. Your kid might not be happy with dad snatching ps3 to practice car photography.
Gran Turismo 5 features a full on photo mode, where you can choose your location, and take one of your cars for a real photography shoot. The interesting part is that you have a complete control over where you will shoot your car, where will the car be positioned, and where will you stand when shooting, thus impacting your composition. When you finally start shooting, you will notice you have pretty much all of the camera controls there: Aperture, Shutter speed, ISO, White Balance, Autofocus, Exposure Compensation, and ability to zoom/unzoom, and control the lens focal length. If that is not enough for you, you can experiment with different aspect ratios, filters, as well as try panning (in replay mode only).
How does it work ?
1. Select Location
Choose one of several photo locations in the game
2. Position your Camera
Choose one of several starting positions for your camera. You can fine tune it later
3. Position your car
Choose your car\'s initial position for the shoot. You can also fine tune your car position, in the next step
4. Fine tune car position, facing, and wheels facing
In this step, by pressing select, you can fine tune your car\'s position in the photo, including car\'s facing, headlights on/off, and turning the wheels left/right.
5. Compose your shot
Next step, you can move around the car, and try to find the best angle. When composing the shot, note that you can set different aperture, shutter speed, WB, focal length in pretty much same way as on a DSLR.
6. Explore various camera settings
In case you want more creative options, check camera options, for testing filter settings, aspect ratio, zoom level, etc.
7. Shoot your photo
Final and most rewarding moment. The moment it clicks.
The process itself is quite simple (See slideshow above for more info):
- You select the car you want to shoot from the garage – note that only Premium cars are eligible for photo shoot mode. You can shoot other cars only in the replay mode, but in that case you are restricted to the location (racetrack).
- Select locale where you want to shoot – Select one of several detailed locations. Our favorite was an abbey near san galgano.
- Choose position of the camera – Select one of the preset camera positions. You can always fine tune it before you take a shot
- Choose position for the car – Select one of the preset car positions. You can always modify it in next step.
- Adjust the car position . This is fine tuning of your car’s position, including direction in which car is facing, turning the wheels as well as adjusting headlight settings
- Move around to find the best spot – Explore different positions/angles until you find the one that works best.
- Shoot your photo.
The cars and locations in gran turismo 5 look beautiful, and if you are an exotic car affection-ado you just might find yourself spending quite an amount of time in this mode. Let me share a few tips on how to photograph cars that i have learned that worked well (also in gt5).
7 tips on how to photograph cars
Shoot your car with short telephoto lens – This might sound counter-intuitive at first, but lens with shorter focal lengths tend to distort perspective a bit. This is not necessarily a bad thing if you want to emphasize some detail, but if you are just going for a car portrait, i have noticed that short telephoto (around 100 mm) usually works best
- Respect the Rule of thirds – If you are going for a classic car portrait, you might want to set it according to the rule of thirds, on some crossing. Pay special attention to the positive and negative space in the image.
Respect the 3/4 rule – This rule is mostly used for people portraits, but also works on car portraits as well. The rule of thumb is to shoot the car from such an angle to see both lights, although that one of the lights is barely visible.
- Turn the wheels – if the car has nice rims, turn the wheels away slightly from the direction car is facing to emphasize the rims. This will add another point of interest to your car portrait.
- Vary the angle of your photos – we perceive cars as dynamic subjects, and therefore they benefit to be shot from dynamic angles. Do not be afraid to tilt your camera, you just might find that the car looks way more interesting from that angle. Typically, sports cars and muscle cars benefit from the lower angles, as it gives them more aggressive look.
- See what makes the car unique, then emphasize it – Try to look for unique elements, that would identify the car, and then emphasize them in your photos.
Go for the detail – a car portrait is nice, but sometimes, even a hint of a specific car detail is enough. Sometimes less is more.
I hope this article has given you a few ideas of your own on how to shoot cars, just remember, just sometimes
You even don’t need a real car to shoot great car photos.
… as long as you have Playstation 3. 🙂
Below you will see small gallery of photos i did in Gran Turismo 5, containing some extra tips. If you have ideas of your own on how to shoot cars, or a gallery of your own that you would like to show, please let us know. Happy shooting.
Kubelwagen in Ahrweiler Town Square
This photo reminds me of a french \'Alo Alo series. I find kubelwagen works really well in this setting.
Ferrari 512BB in Bern
This photo was shot with \'virtual\' 135mm lens. Use short telephoto lens to avoid perspective distortion.
Lamborghini Murcielago in Bern
Low perspective works well on super sports cars, giving them aggressive look.
Go for the detail
Sometimes, it\'s cool to go and look for the detail that makes the car unique. For example, if you check out the rim, Lamborghini logo is clearly visible, and the lights shape hint Murcielago.
Try to incorporate people in the shot
By incorporating people in the shot you set the context for the photo. This girl for example, is talking on the phone, and by blurring her out creates interest by guessing, who is she.
Use Panning where available
Panning the camera is also available in the settings, but only when the car is moving, so you can experiment with it in replay mode.
Practice your action shots with GT5
Gran Turismo 5\'s replay facility, gives you a photo mode, where you can experiment with different action shots, and improve your action photography skills.
Experiment with angles
Cars (especially at speed) look very well under angle, as it gives the photo dynamic qualities. It\'s worth checking out
Put cars in the right context
Try putting cars in the context they belong. E.g. Mazda MX-5 in front of japanese gardens, thus creating a story. It comes in handy in car portraits
Break the rules
In previous tip we advised to put the car in context. Do not be afraid to break the rules, if the settings work out.
Shoot from rear as well as front
Some cars look as attractive from rear as they do from the front. Try it out.
Shoot from above
Some locations have a balcony view. This could be interesting for trying out a different angle, and giving the car more of on-street view.
Mind the reflections
GT5 really pushes the envelope with reflections and in-car detail. Use it to your advantage.
Cars in doorways
Check out the possibility to shoot some cars in doorways. Remember the background is equally important as the car.
Use lead-in lines
All the rules of traditional photography apply, including using lead-in lines to accentuate your subject.
Experiment with angles
Try tilting your camera slightly. It just might work well.
Get in close
Go for the detail, and hint what is the car in question. The front grill clearly hints Maserati.
Include people in the shot
Including people in the shot gives nice context to the car. I believe that this photo gives car a nice context. Hints success.
The cars in GT5 have been modeled down to the last detail. Kudos to the dev team.
Go Kart on the track
Putting Go Kart on the track hopefully creates a sense of dynamicity, and speed. Mind your composition
Old and new
Here i was trying to make a shot of modern car in front of an old bomber plane. Not sure if it worked well though.
Location is important
Selecting the right location is very important, as you have to visualize how will the background work with the car. San galgano abbey is one of my favorite.
Shoot from the profile, and look for depth
I though the archway gave this photo a nice illusion of depth. In addition i wanted to shoot Lamborghini from the profile to accentuate it\'s sleek curves.
Sometimes it works
...other times not so well. The car looks ok on the background, but there is a sense of something missing.
Take the high road
When finding the best angle to shoot this Lamborghini, i could not help but notice the pattern on the floor. I recomposed, and i thinks it works quite well.
Lamborghini Miura - Detail
Detail shot in mid-race. I like the way the photo is still, yet the wheel spins rapidly
Use color to your advantage
I had a bit of luck when racing with a yellow Miura, that an AI racer was just behind me in red Mercedes SLR. I like Yellow/Red compositions. It is also a nice example of rule of thirds.